The remains of President Rene Barrientos Ortuno of Bolivia, who died on Sunday (April 27) when a helicopter in which he was travelling crashed tangling in a telephone line, were taken to La Paz on Monday (April 28) for lying in state in the Cathedral of the Capital city and for the honorary ceremonies prior to the state funeral.
AIRPORT: PRESIDENT SILES SALINAS AND CHIEF OF STAFF GENERAL OVANDO: AEROPLANE CARRYING COFFIN ARRIVES & UNLOADS: MILITARY HONOUR GUARD: COFFIN CARRIED FROM AIRPORT THROUGH STREETS ON MILITARY CARRIAGE: CROWDS ALONG ROUTE: FUNERAL PROCESSION ARRIVES AT CATHEDRAL: BISHOP AND OTHER CHURCH DIGNITARIES ON STEPS: PRESIDENT SILES SPEAKING: BISHOP BLESSES COFFIN: PEOPLE FILE PAST COFFIN LYING IN STATE.
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Background: The remains of President Rene Barrientos Ortuno of Bolivia, who died on Sunday (April 27) when a helicopter in which he was travelling crashed tangling in a telephone line, were taken to La Paz on Monday (April 28) for lying in state in the Cathedral of the Capital city and for the honorary ceremonies prior to the state funeral.
General Barrientos, who was only 49 years old, had been lunching with peasants in the small town of Arque, near Cochabamba, when he left in the Armed Forces helicopter which was to take him to a similar function in another small locality As the aircraft rose it tangled with a telephone cable and crashed down onto the rocks of the River Arque below, bursting into flames on impact. The President, his Aide and a pilot all died instantly.
The aeroplane which brought the president's remains back to La Paz from Cochabamba was met by the new President, Luis Adolfo Siles Salinas, and by chief of Staff General Alfredo Ovando Candia--who had earlier returned from the United States.
The coffin was placed on a carriage with all military honours and driven along the 15-kilometres (10-mile) route to La Paz through a mourning crowd estimated at 300,000--the drive took 5 1/2 hours. Later, the coffin was taken to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of La Paz where the President's remains were to lie in state. Bolivia's new President Siles Salinas, spoke over the coffin before it was blessed by Monseigneur Genaro Prata, Auxiliary Bishop of La Paz.
Late into the night, people were still filing past the coffin of the man who had been a popular figure since he was elected in 1964 after leading the insurrection which deposed the government.
Throughout the Americas a day of mourning was declared in memory of President Rene Barrientos Ortu????o.